incremental goal setting

The Power of Incremental Goal Setting for Success

Setting goals can seem like climbing a mountain.

It’s tough and sometimes feels unreachable.

But what if I told you that breaking this big climb into smaller steps could change everything?

This method is called incremental goal setting.

Setting incremental goals is essential to stay motivated and keep working hard.

This strategy allowed me to balance my tasks as an account manager working 9-5 and as an SEO specialist.

It doesn’t matter what areas of life you are setting goals in.

Breaking them down into smaller tasks is the only way to reach them.

Ready to set incremental goals and reach success?

Key Takeaways

  • Breaking goals into smaller, achievable steps helps clarify what you want and makes it easier to reach bigger dreams.
  • Celebrating every small win along the way keeps motivation high and builds momentum towards achieving greater outcomes.
  • Keeping track of your progress with journals or apps can show how far you’ve come and help adjust plans as needed.
  • Sharing your goals with someone can boost your chances for success by adding accountability and providing new insights.
  • Adjusting and reflecting on your goals ensures that every effort brings you closer to what you’re aiming for, making each step more effective.

What is incremental goal setting?

What is incremental goal setting?

Incremental goal setting is a strategy that involves breaking down your long-term goals into more manageable steps.

It’s crucial to understand whether you’re setting unrealistic goals or not.

Basically, you set smaller, achievable goals on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

These small steps help you clarify what you want to achieve in life and make it easier to reach larger goals.

I used this process every time to understand what I must do to reach a specific goal.

By doing so, I always feel motivated because my goal seems attainable

And each achievement pushes you closer to your bigger dreams.

It doesn’t matter if it’s just a small win; it a step closer to your ultimate goal.

This method maintains focus and builds momentum towards achieving greater outcomes.

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.

What’s the difference between incremental goals and SMART Goals?

I always say you should set SMART goals.

Well, incremental goals are very similar.

Imagine SMART goals as your roadmap, showing you where you’re going.

But to reach your destination, you need to break the journey down into smaller steps.

That’s where incremental goals come in – they’re like milestones along the way, helping you celebrate progress and keeping you motivated.

Examples of incremental goals

Now, let’s make an example of incremental goals.

To make it clearer, I will take fitness as an example.

I’m passionate about weighted calisthenics, so an effective incremental goal could be:

Increase the weight for weighted dips by 20 pounds within three months.

Now, let’s apply the incremental goal setting principles and let’s split it into manageable steps.

Milestone 1: Determine my current maximum weight for dips

  • Task: Perform weighted dips to find the maximum weight I can lift for 3-5 reps.
  • Timeline: Complete within the first week.
  • Measurement: Record my maximum weight and reps.

Milestone 2: Improve my form and technique

  • Task: Watch instructional videos or work with a trainer to ensure proper form.
  • Timeline: Practice and refine over the next two weeks.
  • Measurement: Perform dips with less weight but with more focus on the technique

Milestone 3: Incrementally add weight

  • Task: Increase weight by 2-5 pounds every week.
  • Timeline: Add weight gradually over the next eight weeks.
  • Measurement: Track the weight increase and maintain good form and rep range.

Milestone 4: Analyze progress and results

  • Task: Review my training log and adjust your plan if needed to address plateaus or imbalances.
  • Timeline: Ongoing, with formal reviews at the end of each month.
  • Measurement: Continuous improvement in strength and weight lifted.

As you can see, this is a practical guide to achieving a goal that initially seems difficult.

If you want, you can even apply the Rule of 5 to increase your chances of success.

You can apply these principles to every goal you want to reach!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Set Incremental Goals

As an account manager and SEO specialist, I’ve learned that success doesn’t happen overnight.

It comes from setting small goals and consistently hitting them one by one.

That’s the power of incremental goal setting.

As I told you, you can use this strategy for every objective you want to reach.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to set incremental goals the right way.

Identify your end goal

Identify your end goal

To set incremental goals, you must first pinpoint your ultimate aim.

Think about where you want to end up; this could be enhancing your skills, losing weight, or climbing the career ladder.

If you have no idea of what goals you want to achieve, you should start with a life audit.

This will give you clarity and direction about what you want to achieve in your life.

Make sure this grand goal is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Don’t just say, ” I want to be successful”. What does it mean? Success is subjective.

Your goal must be as specific as possible.

For instance, if you’re aiming to become an expert in digital marketing, as I did, your end goal might involve mastering SEO or becoming proficient in social media strategy.

With that being said, it could be something like:

” I want to learn how to create a website from scratch by the end of August”.

See the difference?

This goal is much clearer, and each sub-goal acts like a checkpoint on your journey to success.

This clarity keeps you motivated and focused because every task has purpose and direction

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Keep each step intentional toward reaching that major goal.

Break it down into sub-goals

Ok, now you have your ultimate goal.

But you must reach it in the right way.

First of all, you need to set your sub-goals.

If you want to learn how to drive a car, your sub-goals could be

  • Learn the rules of the road
  • Get familiar with the main car’s control
  • Start practicing in an empty parking lot
  • Practice driving in residential neighborhoods
  • Practice driving on highways and interstates

Do you remember when you learned to drive?

It seemed impossible.

I also failed the practical driving test!

But if you split your main goal into sub-goals, everything becomes easier.

Create your task list for your sub-goals

Create your task list for your sub-goals

Now that you have your sub-goals, it’s time to create a task list to achieve them.

If you want to learn the rules of the road, you must be consistent in studying.

Your to-do list for this specific sub-goal could be something like:

  • Set aside 30 minutes each day to study the handbook
  • Take online quizzes or practice tests

What about the second one?

Here we go:

  • Practice starting the car and smoothly accelerating and braking.
  • Practice steering and making turns.
  • Practice parking in various types of parking spots.

Doesn’t seem that everyone can reach these goals easily?

That’s the power of incremental goals: setting a big objective and then drawing a map to reach it!

And don’t forget to write down your goals. Please don’t skip this step.

In fact, according to recent statistics, when you write your goals, you are 42 percent more likely to achieve them.

A little effort for huge results.

Track your progress

You should always keep an eye on how you’re doing.

This step is super important to make sure you stay on track and feel good about the small wins along the way.

Each little success builds your confidence.

Maybe you’re not progressing, or even worse, you’re regressing.

Make sure to have a journal or an app where you jot down what you achieve each day or week.

Seeing your progress written down makes it real, and if something’s not working, you’ll spot it fast and can tweak things to keep moving forward.

Since I started doing it, everything changed.

My goals seem much clearer and more attainable.

Seeing them written motivates me to continue and keeps me motivated.

Don’t underestimate the power of setting goals to achieve success!

Find someone to share your goals

Find someone to share your goals

I always talk about the importance of having an accountability partner.

The reason is simple: it just works.

This partner acts like a coach on the sidelines—always ready to cheer you on and give honest feedback.

You’ll feel more responsible for reaching your targets because someone else knows what you’re working toward.

It’s not just about keeping you on track; it’s about getting insights that could make all the difference.

Also, having a goal buddy also opens up new ways of thinking.

You might discover solutions you never thought of before.

Plus, this shared journey aligns with both personal and professional growth, making every step forward more meaningful.

So, go ahead and find that person who breathes life into your aspirations—you won’t regret it!

Celebrate your successes

Celebrate every win, no matter the size.

Enjoying your small victories can really keep your drive alive.

When I reach a sub-goal, I usually go out for dinner or organize something special.

This method is also perfect for reducing stress and relaxing.

It’s like your brain is receiving positive feedback, and you’re rewarding it for the hard work.

Adjust and Reflect

A high achiever is not just someone who dreams big and never stops working.

Take time to reflect on your progress and change your goals.

Maybe you set an overly ambitious goal?

Or you realized that it’s not what you want?

When I was 22 years old, I wanted to learn Latin dance.

I tried taking lessons for two months, but then… I realized I didn’t give a shit.

You can’t reach a goal if you don’t believe in it.

You’ve got the feedback; now use it to refine your path.

Reflection turns past actions into valuable lessons for future success.

Think about it; without pausing to consider what worked or didn’t, how will you know where to focus next? 

This is a necessary step, so don’t skip it!


Incremental goal setting is an effective strategy that everyone should use.

It was crucial to reaching my goals and managing two jobs at the same time.

 It’s not a miracle method, but it will help you a lot.

Start by picking your big dream.

Then, break it down into smaller parts you can handle.

Keep track of everything and celebrate each win, no matter how small.

If something isn’t working, change your plan a bit.

This is the power of incremental goal setting.

Ready to use achieve success?

Giovanni della Ventura Author

About Author

Giovanni is a maestro of time management, motivation, and accountability.

With an experience of over seven years as an account manager, during the night, he transforms into an SEO consultant, one of his many passions.

In this blog, he shares his best tips on becoming the best version of yourself based on his experience. Learn more

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